You are an inventor, a great plan for a new business is crossing your mind. But you are not sure where to start or if that is worth the time. Don’t worry. In this short guide, we will tell you when it is necessary to get a product design company.
What is product design?
Product design is a process where designers or engineers take a concept that a person has in mind and create a visual representation of it. This product design aims to get a balance between user experience (the potential customer) and the guidelines set by the inventor or startup.
Why do you need a product design company?
The answer to this question depends on what stage your concept is and what you want to achieve. Not everyone has the same plans or budget when it comes to doing business. There are other aspects to consider, like technical feasibility and potential profits.
Simple functional version of your concept
Maybe you want to have a simple idea of what your product would look like. You are not sure about making a business out of it. Then, you don’t need the services of a product design company. You need to get a basic prototype (see prototype tooling).
Let’s say you want to build an automatic water bowl for cats. You don’t care about the aesthetics, but you want to know if this can be built. In your opinion, design can come later. Also, it’s possible the budget to develop the whole idea is a limitation.
Once you get a functional version of your concept, you may show it to investors or try to get funding using a crowdfunding campaign. When the budget is reached, you could look for a hardware development service provider that can help you create an attractive automatic water bowl for cats based on the prototype you have.
Concept ready for the market
Dieter Rams, a famous industrial designer, said, “Good design makes a product understandable.” This makes sense from the point of view where an inventor wants to bring a new concept to the market.
If that’s your case, it means you want to see your creation in the hands of people, and of course, something they are willing to pay for.
This is when you should get a product design firm that can do that for you. They start by arranging a meeting to know specifically what you want to create. Then, a mockup render will be designed. However, that’s not all. Unless you want to have a beautiful picture of your concept framed in your office, you should know that’s only the beginning.
Product design companies care for the entire process of your invention, it’s not just getting a nice design. This will be the starting point that determines how your final product will grow.
The first design serves as a model to create a low fidelity prototype. Then, after some tests, the engineers that are in charge of electronics product design, software or other aspects, will start defining what will be the last components.
This needs to be checked by the product design engineering area, since the physical components created and assembled by the other areas need to comply with the specifications of the initial design.
The design must be respected to be visually attractive and user-friendly. Can you imagine the first ipod with a lot of buttons? Steve Jobs wanted it to be simple; and that was part of its major success.
When the design process matches the real live version, you will have an invention ready to be shown to the world. The product design company will also give you the exact measures, drawings, length, electric specifications, and connections.
This will be necessary when you decide to order new versions of your invention for product prototype development.
Concept not ready for the market
Another possibility is that you get a design of your concept, but once you show it to potential customers or investors, you don’t get the proper response or acceptance you were expecting.
Sometimes we can be disappointed by how people react to a prototype (why is prototyping important). However, it’s better to have a bad brief moment, instead of losing thousands of dollars with a failed product.
There is another scenario. Product design engineering companies may give you a significant result creating the mockup render. But the company and you realize your design is too advanced for the market and impossible to create.
Another limitation may be the money you need for producing it. If the technology is difficult to create or expensive, you will need to assume high risks borrowing money and trying to make it profitable.
That doesn’t mean your design is worthless. You could wait a couple of months or years until supply prices drop, or try to find other possible materials that comply with your product design. Technology is always advancing, and you don’t know what the future might bring.
In summary, knowing when to get a product design company depends on what stage you are at with your idea. As we explained above, a simple functional version won’t need product design.
However, if you need to test your concept with a few customers, they will need to interact with a product that is visually interesting and user-friendly, since they represent potential buyers, and need to interact with a close version to the one you will launch in the market.